If you have been recommended or ordered to complete a psychological evaluation, it is important to do your homework and carefully review your options before selecting a forensic psychologist for your case. The following list outlines important information you should consider before hiring your expert:
1. The psychologist’s credentials and experience. It’s important to have access to the psychologist’s resume, also called a Curriculum Vitae (CV), prior to making arrangements for an evaluation to take place. The information on this document will give you insight as to whether or not the psychologist has had experience in cases such as yours, if they have been qualified as an expert witness in the type of court you are involved in, and if they are licensed to practice in their state. It’s also important to learn if they are a member of any professional organizations that regulate their field and to determine if they have had any specialized trainings in forensic examining and court involved cases.
2. The psychologist’s reputation. The psychologist’s reputation is a major factor that can either make or break your case. While it could certainly be tempting to hire a psychologist who is willing to write my essay report for the right price, it will usually end up costing you in the long run. If you hire a psychologist with a reputation for being a “Hired Gun”, the Judge is likely aware of it and the opposing attorney will also be sure to bring this out during cross examination. On top of that, you won’t win any brownie points with the judge for believing that they are too naive to notice the stunt you tried to pull. Your expert’s testimony will be much more valuable if you stick with a psychologist who cares enough about their reputation to hold themselves to a high standard of ethical behaviors. They should be unwilling to write a halfhearted report knowing the impact it could have and the years in which they tend to follow the client. Lastly, in my opinion at least, a good forensic psychologist secretly enjoys the rush that comes from being so well prepared that they are unshakable on the witness stand.
3. The psychologist’s speaking ability and likeability. While these factors may not seem like the most important things to consider when hiring an expert witness, the fact remains that the psychologist may be required to testify about the results of your psychological evaluation in front of a judge and possibly a jury on your day in court. These decision makers are human beings and will naturally form opinions and make judgments about the expert based on how they present in court. It is in your best interest if you hire a psychologist who can clearly express their findings and opinions with confidence, without sounding arrogant, defensive, or at all annoying. If a cross examining attorney can get the expert flustered, angry, back tracking, fumbling over their words, or sounding unsure of themselves, the testimony could be given less weight and found to lack credibility by the decision makers. Even the best psychological report can mean very little if your expert doesn’t step up and perform well on the witness stand.
4. Does the expert really care? This may seem like common sense, but if you inadvertently hire a psychologist who doesn’t take their time during the evaluation, or has a tendency to rush through reports, you will likely receive a cookie-cutter report that doesn’t capture the nuances of person’s personality or offer recommendations that are worth reading. A good forensic psychologist will care about doing a great job because they remember that this is people’s lives on the line, not just another case to knock out.
The bottom line is, the factors which are often influenced by the forensic psychologist’s evaluation and expert witness testimony have a tendency to be life changing and cannot be taken lightly. It’s important to hire an expert who understands this and makes every effort to provide you with a thorough evaluation, a comprehensive report, and a confident presence in the courtroom.
If you or someone you know is facing a situation which requires the expertise of a forensic psychologist, you are encouraged to call the Psychological Center for Expert Evaluations, Inc. for a complimentary consultation with a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist. We are located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and are willing to travel within Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas for expert witness testimony. Please call us today at 561-429-2140. We look forward to hearing from you to schedule your same day telephone consultation, free of charge.